Chronic lower back pain is a serious ailment that can affect the entire body, making every day life difficult if not unbearable.
Pain, especially perpetual pain, causes irritability, dysfunctional movement, and major deviations and imbalances in posture. The practice of yoga, which is designed to help bring the body back into balance, is the ideal way to relieve lower back pain. Static, gentle stretches can begin to relieve the pressure placed on the lower back by tight hamstrings, tight back muscles, and short hip flexors. Try the following four poses to help relieve your lower back pain and find ease in your daily movements.
1. Box on the Wall (Variation of Downward Facing Dog)
Box on the Wall is named such because your body, the wall, and the floor essentially make a box. This pose is also a variation of Downward Facing Dog, but has a different orientation to gravity that places less pressure on the hands and arms. To start, place your hands on a wall at about hip height, shoulder width apart. Then walk your feet back until your heels are under your sitting bones. Push your hands, especially your index finger knuckles, try to straighten your legs and engage your quads, and lift your sitting bones to find the natural curve of your lower spine. If it is too difficult to straighten the legs and keep the sitting bones lifted, practice this pose with the knees slightly bent. This pose stretches the hamstrings (if the legs are straight), stretches the spine and provides lower back mobility from the tilting of the pelvis.
2. Supta Padangustasana (Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose)
This is a great way to stretch the hamstrings in a supported and relaxing position, as you are laying on the floor. Use a yoga belt, place it around the bottom of one foot and extend that leg, trying to get it perpendicular to the floor. extend the other leg to the floor. Keep booth feet flexed and both sets of quadriceps engaged here, and only move your leg closer to your chest if you can keep that leg straight and engaged. Stretching the hamstrings is integral for a healthy low back, as tight and short hamstrings pull on the low back and create nagging pain in that part of the body.
3. Supported Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
Supported Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is done with the help of a yoga block. Lie on your spine and bend your knees to bring your heels close to your sitting bones. Push your feet into the floor to lift your hips high enough to place the block under your sacrum, right at the base of your spine. You can interlace your hands behind the block and extend your arms to the floor to increase the stretch in your chest and shoulders. Try to keep your feet hip width apart and your knees in line with your feet. This pose passively stretches the hip flexors, quadriceps and chest, all of which can contribute to low back pain.
4. Modified Ardha Matsyendrasana (Side Twist)
Twists are the perfect way to relieve the entire spine, especially after doing a backbend like Bridge Pose. Sit on the floor (or a folded blanket if your hamstrings are very tight) and bend your right knee. Cross the right foot over the knee of your extended left leg. Bring your right hand behind you and cross your left arm over your right knee to twist toward the right. With every inhale, lift your chest to extend your spine, and with every exhale, twist a little further. This pose increases the space between the vertebrae, taking pressure off the lower back and increasing mobility in the entire spine.